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Halloween part 2: The Long Halloween! – Batmonth Finale (1996-1997)

 Here we go! The day I’ve been waiting for and building up to all month. The greatest book ever written. Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s piece du resistance. The story of a series of murders on 12 of the major celebrations between Halloween and the following Halloween that Batman, Jim Gordon, and Harvey Dent unite to solve. I have the Absolute Edition volume of it, and it is beautiful.

The full size versions of Tim Sales spreads are still not big enough to do the images justice. I just want a massive print of the first page framed and hanging over on my bed.

I love this book for so many reasons. Firstly, this book truly represents the passing of the torch. When the book begins Gotham city is a real place. Mobs are its biggest problem. Corruption exists, but is slowly being dealt with by Gotham’s real hero – James Gordon. Batman exists, but he’s kind of like a desert fork – yeah he’s around, but he’s really only there for a small purpose. But with this book, Joker declares himself the biggest bad, a large portion of the mob is wiped out through the holiday killings, and Dent tips the scales by bringing all the villains together in the end. From this point on, Batman’s justice is what Gotham asks for.  Continue reading

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Halloween Part 1: The Origin of… Two-Face

 It’s Halloween. I’ve been spending the month reading comics that both take place before The Long Halloween and that introduce the key players. Joker, Catwoman, Riddler, Mad Hatter, Poison Ivy, The Scarecrow, an extensive history both of Bruce Wayne, various accounts of his early days in the costume, his relation with Superman, his Halloween adventures. I believe I have covered everything going into my reading for today. With one exception: Two Face!

Harvey Dent’s transformation from D.A. to villain is precisely why I like TLH. But I can’t let the book tell the whole story. So I went to 5 other sources to paint the whole picture, or show me various angles of his origin. Continue reading

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Batman: Zero Year (2011-2012)

The  Zero Year is the New 52 story of Batman’s early days. Written by Scott Snyder and drawn by Greg Capullo, this is the 3rd arc in their storyline, and takes place 6 years ahead of modern continuity. It retells the first encounter that Batman has with the Red Hood, Riddler, Lucius Fox, Gordon, and shows us how he fails, learns, and struggles to get back up in his first attempt to bring justice to Gotham. Continue reading

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The Complete History of Bruce Wayne: A Study of Before He Was Batman (1939, 1956, 1980, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1993, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2011, 2012)

Bruce Wayne’s history is a convoluted one. Every writer paints a different picture of who he is, what he values he holds, how far he is willing to go and where he comes from.

The basics are universal, and we learned them early on, in Batman’s 7th appearance Detective #33. I discussed them in my first Batmonth post. We know that as a young boy his parents were gunned down by a robber in front of him. As a result, he vowed to rid Gotham City of crime, a vow which has driven him to the peak of human performance, and mental ability aided by the massive inheritance his parents left him.batman

For some, that is all we need to know. But is that the whole story? No. But from here the details get fuzzier and fuzzier. I will do my best to put forth all the knowledge I have from here on. Continue reading

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1995: Ghosts – The Legends of the Dark Knight Halloween Special #3

batman-legends-ghostsThe third and final Halloween special that Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale wrote before plunging into the year long epic – Batman: The Long Halloween.

And it felt a little rushed.

Inspired by and mirroring Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, this story follows a food poisoned Bruce through the standard 4 ghost encountering story.

Before any apparitions appear, it is a typical night for Bruce. While reconnecting with Lucius Fox, a man he met several years back, The Penguin arrives at the party and robs the guest. Bruce confronts the little man, who shoots him and leaves him to fall to his death. This gives Bruce a chance to switch identities and confront the Penguin for real. Seriously Gotham, either A) stop having elaborate parties for the wealthy and important to make yourselves feel important and wealthy, or B) maybe invite the Penguin. He’s wealthy, have you thought that maybe he does these things because he doesn’t feel included. He’s always been one of you, just spend some time with him, maybe he’s a nice guy on the inside. Or C) step up your freaking security. Do you want your baubles and wallets and watches taken? You can afford the extra few dollars. Gordon will do it. He needs the money, and he has before.  Continue reading

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1948/1994: Madness- The Origin of…The Mad Hatter, and Batman: Halloween Special #2

 When I ask you to tell me the name of the first Batman villain that pops into your brain you may say classic characters like Joker, or Two-Face you may say names of villains that are more popular because of the movies like Ra’s Al Ghul or Bane, I might even get newer ones like the Court of Owls, but I doubt the first villain that comes to mind would be Jarvis Tetch, the stout man with an obsession for Alice in Wonderland known as the Mad Hatter.

But he is more of a player than his popularity would imply. He plays big roles in storylines like The Long Halloween, Knightfall and No Man’s Land.  Continue reading

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1993: Batman – The Halloween Special #1 – Choices

ABSOLUTE-BATMAN-HAUNTED-KNIGHT-HCBatman: The Legends of the Dark Knight Halloween Special #1 was the first Batman book that Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale did together, and they knocked it out of the park.

It was originally supposed to just be a small arc in Legends of the Dark Knight, but because of the timing (#50 was coming out near Halloween, but that issue had been promised to Denny O’Neil) it just happened to work out that the issue had to be a special, prestige format book (according to Loeb on his episode of Fatman on Batman).

I am very happy in how things played out. Their collaboration on a Challengers of the Unknown lead to this. This special lead to a second, which lead to a third, which lead to The Long Halloween, which itself lead to Catwoman: When in Rome and Superman: For All Seasons (I don’t care about Dark Victory – sue me!). Even their work at Marvel on the colour books is fantastic! Continue reading